Now the fun begins - Rehab
January 30, 2011, 10:43 am
Filed under: Medical | Tags: , , , , , ,

Hi everyone. It’s been 8 weeks, and so much has happened since that infamous POP.

My Achilles Rupture was a high rupture, meaning the doctor actually recommended non-surgery and to cast. Seeing I live in Argentina, they wanted me in the cast for 8 weeks. After having read all the information hear I knew non-surgery was the correct choice but 8 weeks was¬†definitely¬†too long in a cast. So the fun began at week 5…

I had a friend bring me back the Vaco Cast for my achilles from the States. WOW. What a #%#@! awesome piece of equipment. Brooke at VacoCAST (Oped) was great and shipped it within 1 day to get it to my friend before she left to come back to Argentina.

I waited to the 5th week to get my cast off because I wanted to go straight into the VacoCAST. Unfortunately it took me seeing 3 doctors until one finally agreed to cut it off (the other two were like “that’s not how we do it in Argentina”). So into the boot I went, set at 20 degrees, and my calf half the size of its twin. Sigh…

So here’s a timeline now…

Week 0 - 5 In cast (Non surgical option)

Week 5 - In VacoCAST set at 20 degree - work on range of motion of foot and get acupuncture treatment daily

Week 6 - VacoCAST now set to 17.5 degree and continuing the above treatments with massage as well. Lots of swelling at the end of the day

Week 7 - VacoCAST set to 15 degrees. Swimming with a pool buoy between the legs. AWESOME to get some exercise in finally. On one crutch and Partial weight bearing (PWB). Continuing acupuncture and massage.

Week 8 - VacoCAST at 0 degree (so my foot is now at 90 yay!). Swimming without pool buoy. Getting acupuncture and massage. Limping in the pool. Range of motion has readily improved.

So here I am… some thoughts on the whole ordeal.

  1. The VacoCAST is worth every penny. Not only can you take it on and off (and have a normal shower!) the slow progression to 90 is a god send and it seems like the right thing to do.
  2. Showers with a chair suck.
  3. Acupuncture triggers the muscles to start working again. Highly recommend. I was going to Frances Ren - a great acupuncturist here in Buenos Aires (http://www.francesren.com)
  4. My wife rocks.
  5. I should probably have started PWB earlier (like week 5)
  6. My foot feels like it’s on pins and needles when I place it down and my heel is quite sore after a day of limping around
  7. This site is great for your mental health

5 Comments so far
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The sore foot thing is something I remember well, the sensitivity eventually goes as the bottom of your foot toughens up again. As the swelling goes down your POM will improve but you’ll prob have some internal scar tissue that you’ll find as a lump. Massage helps this. The more you use the foot the more every other joint and tendon complains but its all so worth it. I has my first ATR jog today - something I could never imagine doing and it was wonderful. Keep up the good work it sounds like your well on your way. Carry on healing :)

Comment by liverpoollass 01.30.11 @ 2:15 pm

Congrats on your first job. My goal is to jog by June. It’s amazing how the small things really matter.

Comment by duffachilles 01.30.11 @ 8:40 pm

What a wonderful “summary”. Great post, Duff!
I too have the VACOcast, and can’t rave about it enough, either. I am at 8 weeks, myself, and am also at 0 degrees setting in the boot. I’m walking w/o it in the pool, and swimming w/a pull buoy, too! Sounds like we’re both right on track.
I am supposed to start discontinuing it over the next few weeks.
I’ve noticed the sensitivity on the bottom of my foot, too, but have really gotten it to significantly go away by just taking some time each day to just stand bare-footed and walk in place, and shift weight from one foot to the other, to walk bare foot in the pool, and by massaging the sole of my foot.

Tomorrow my PT is going to get me set up, and show me what I need to do to discontinue the boot safely and efficiently. I’ll post what I learn! Keep up the great recovery! Agreed…this site has really been great!

Comment by iski7b 01.30.11 @ 11:10 pm

Great transition, way to take charge, Duff!

I still like the sequence and timing at bit.ly/UWOProtocol — from the most successful new study on non-surgical (AND surgical!) healing of the ATR, abstract at bit.ly/UWOStudyPub. They used a simpler boot than the Vaco, the non-hinged AirCast, so they changed ankle angle by inserting then removing heel wedges. It sounds like you never used my fave feature of the VacoCast — that it can be set to HINGE while you’re walking. I used an older design of hinged boot (with BOTH ATRs, both sides, 8 years apart) to let my ankle flex downward as I walked, but still protecting me from having it flex upwards past neutral. I think it’s a great way to progress, starting at roughly 7 weeks, maybe earlier.

One more trick: Many of us got relief from the sensitive sole (and esp. heel) by rolling over a ball barefoot while seated. A golfball if you can handle the pressure, or else a tennis ball. . .

Comment by normofthenorth 01.31.11 @ 4:19 am

I am reading a mirror image of my injury. Did mine at squash, achilles rupture high up, recommended non surgery by the doctor. Going to have my cast removed on Monday. I am as well going to insist a boot….I am 5 weeks post ATR - I have a long way to go….

Best of luck!!!

Comment by gareth 02.17.11 @ 1:31 pm



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